BOOK: Middle-grade book about father, son poses enormous moral dilemmasAnthony’s dad is a wildlife photographer and has not been home for two years. But something is suspicious. All of his letters to Anthony have the same postmark.
By: Jean Patrick, Republic Book Columnist
Anthony’s dad is a wildlife photographer and has not been home for two years. But something is suspicious. All of his letters to Anthony have the same postmark.
“On the Run,” by Clara Bourreau, quickly becomes a difficult story.
Anthony discovers that his mother and grandparents have been lying about his father’s career.
The truth is painful. His father is in jail for bank robbery. When the trial becomes national news, Anthony’s fourth-grade classmates torment him with questions.
But just before the trial, Anthony’s dad disappears. When he comes to the house in disguise to say goody-bye, Anthony begs to go with him. When he refuses, Anthony threatens his dad with an ultimatum. If he doesn’t take him along, he will tell the police of his whereabouts.
The novel takes a new turn as Anthony and his dad flee through the French countryside. During the long and tiring escape, they bond. Yet Anthony’s thoughts dwell on the truth, openness and the tension of wanting to be with his dad and to be back home.
“On the Run” ends with fireworks, gunshots and a maturing Anthony. But the conclusion is open-ended, leaving readers to speculate about Anthony’s choices for the future.
“On the Run” is not a typical middle-grade book. The dialogue is brief, but intense. The events are not shown in detail, but simply told by Anthony as they occur. And although Anthony is young, the moral dilemmas are enormous.
One of the more intriguing elements is that of family. As Anthony learns, his grandfather was a famous burglar who taught his father the trade. Clearly, Anthony states that he does not want to become a thief. Yet lines are not always clear — for the reader or for Anthony — as he helps his father escape.
“On the Run” was original published in “En cavale.” Author Clara Bourreau writes for television and screen in France.
“On the Run.” By Clara Bourreau . Translated by U. Maudett. Delecourt Press, 2012. 128 pp.